Reproductive biology of the common antarctic crinoid Promachocrinus kerguelensis (Echinodermata: Crinoidea)

Academic Article


  • Histological examinations of the gonads of Promachocrinus kerguelensis Carpenter, 1888 collected in November 1984 from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, revealed ripe ovaries containing three distinct size classes of oocytes: 20 to 90, 91 to 150 and 151 to 180 μm diameter as well as ova. Testes were ripe, and filled with mature sperms. There was marked inter-pinnule and inter-individual synchrony of gametogenesis and spawning is probably synchronous, at least within the sub-population sampled. The number of eggs per pinnule is allometrically related to body size. Body weight and arm length are positively correlated with total egg number. Annual fecundity was estimated to be 29 000 eggs (full-grown oocytes and ova) for a crinoid weighing 53.6 g wet weight with an arm length of 16.3 cm. The eggs float. Female genital pinnules contain more lipid and energy than male pinnules. Reproductive output and effort (23.4 to 65.2 kJ and 26 to 38%, respectively) increase with body size and are similar to values reported for other echinoderms with lecithotrophic larvae. The greatest overall energetic contribution is represented by the arms and genital pinnules. Spawning in P. kerguelensis probably occurs in November and December within McMurdo Sound. If development is slow, as in all other antarctic echinoderms studied to date, then settlement most likely occurs 2 to 3 mo later, after the short summer period of high phytoplankton productivity. High fecundity, a pelagic mode of reproduction, and the high probability of a slow rate of development may contribute to the wide geographic distribution of this common antarctic crinoid. © 1987 Springer-Verlag.
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    Author List

  • McClintock JB; Pearse JS
  • Start Page

  • 375
  • End Page

  • 383
  • Volume

  • 96
  • Issue

  • 3